Reese Kaplan -- AL East Trade Targets (Part 6 of 6)


New York Yankees

As much as it hurts most Mets fans to admit it, the Yankees are the team in New York to which the term amazing is more appropriate.  The only weak link appears to be at 1st base where Greg Bird is injured (and underperforming) and now it’s handled by all-or-nothing slugger Chris Carter.  After the monster rookie season provided by Gary Sanchez last year they’re surely not ready to toss him aside for a more pedestrian sophomore campaign.  Aaron Judge is doing Mike Trout kind of numbers with both power and a .317 batting average.  Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius may be the most potent middle infield in baseball.  The other outfielders – Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury – both make catchers want to call in sick rather than trying to throw them out on the basepaths.  The starting rotation has not been that good.  Masahiro Tanaka has 5 wins but is sporting a 5.80 ERA and players are hitting .291 against him.  Michael Pineda has had a nice comeback season with a 3.27 ERA.  Luis Severino has been adequate but C.C. Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery have not helped the cause.  The bullpen has been brilliant, though closer Aroldis Chapman is now down with rotator cuff inflammation.  They have FOUR pitchers with sub 2.00 ERAs out there, including Dellin Betances (0.75), Tyler Clippard (1.17), Adam Warren (1.29) and Jonathan Holder (1.72).  Major deals between the crosstown rivals are few and far between.  Of this group, they’re not likely to want to part with any until they know the full extent of Chapman’s injury.  As a result, I don’t see much of a fit here unless it was a deal for Walker or Duda to play 3B or 1B respectively for prospects blocked at the big league level.

Baltimore Orioles

There’s a good reason the Orioles are only a half game out of first place.  They are getting offensive production from pretty much every spot in the lineup even with Manny Machado hitting just .222.  LF has been something of a black hole for them, but they’re moving Mark Trumbo into a regular outfield role along with Adam Jones and Seth Smith.  Part of the reason for doing so is the surprising production of non-roster invitee Trey Mancini who has provided 7 HRs, 20 RBIs and a .288 AVG in just 80 ABs after taking over at DH.  Starting pitchers Wade Miley, Dylan Bundy, Chris Tillman and Alec Asher are all pitching to sub 3.00 ERAs.  Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez have been plain awful.  With closer Zach Britton on the shelf, it’s unlikely you will be able to pry away any of the other fine relief pitchers, including Brad Bach (temporary closer), Donnie Hart, or Mychal Givens.  I’ve advocated going after Givens in the past.  Donnie Hart is someone with whom I have very little familiarity, but he has a 2.40 ERA for his entire minor league career and is doing the same level of work part of last year and this year in the majors.  

Boston Red Sox

When they’re good they’re very good, but it’s not all beer and pretzels.  Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia are among the best in the game at their respective positions.  Youngster Andrew Benintendi is performing at a level that would generate a starting role on any team in the majors.  Unfortunately they’re not getting very much from some of their other veterans – Pablo Sandoval, Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are all pretty bad this year.  People were not expecting much from Sandoval, but JBJ was coming off a 26 HR/87 RBI season and this year has 2 HRs and 7 RBIs.   Chris Sale and 24 year old lefty Eduardo Rodriguez have been outstanding.  After that it goes downhill pretty quickly.  Rick Porcello is holding down the fort with a 4.01 ERA, but Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright have been fairly awful.  In the pen Craig Kimbrel is even better than he was in Atlanta (if you can believe that!)  Fernando Abad, Robby Scott and Joe Kelly have all been providing top notch relief as well.  There might be a possibility here with poor production out of Moreland and Sandoval for either Lucas Duda or Neil Walker.  What the Mets might target in return could be Jackie Bradley, Jr. as a hedge that Jay Bruce decides to test free agency.  They’re also not getting much out of their catching position and might feel that Travis d’Arnaud would flourish with the Green Monster so close.  

Tampa Bay Rays

There’s not a lot of offense thus far in the other city by the bay.  Former Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson is having a terrific 2017 thus far with a .331 AVG as the DH.  Logan Morrison is in double digits with HRs and playing 1st base.  Tim Beckham has enough power that they’ll live with him at shortstop.  Right fielder Steven Souza is at .260/5/23.  Normally steady Evan Longoria is hitting just .247/5/19.  No one else is doing very much.   Jake Odorizzi is the ace of the staff with a 2.61 ERA and just a .174 BAA.  He’s joined by quality starters Chris Archer, Alex Cobb and somewhat surprising Matt Andriese.  5th starter Blake Snell has hit something of a sophomore slump.  Last year the Rays converted Alex Colome to closer and he rewarded them with a 1.91 ERA and 37 saves.  He’s on track to do more of the same this year.  He’s got a lot of help, too, with the arms of Danny Farquhar, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley, and Tommy Hunter all pitching to sub 3.00 ERAs.  Here the one I’d target is Farquhar who has been good 3 of the past 4 years.  

Toronto Blue Jays

Arguably the only team who can whine more about how injuries have affected them than the Mets, the Blue Jays are cellar dwellers in the AL East.  Let’s cover what’s going right for them first. Ezekiel Carrera in left field is hitting .314 thus far but that’s not likely sustainable given his career track record.  Similarly Kevin Pillar’s .310 is an outlier.  After years of failing to live up to his potential, at age 30 Justin Smoak is on his way to his finest season with a .283/8/25 in the early going.  Kendrys Morales is only hitting .237, Russell Martin is at just .197 as his right fielder Jose Bautista.  It’s pretty clear why Toronto is in trouble.  Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Strohman and Marco Estrada are all doing a fine job.  Unfortunately they have both J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano on the DL.  Joe Biagini has recently logged a pair of starts has a sparkling 2.28 ERA but that’s a small sample size and he  only achieved a 4.06 career ERA in the minors.  Please note that the Blue Jays, unlike the Mets, entrusted a 20 year old to appear in 68 games as a rookie.  The now 22 year old closer Roberto Osuna is doing a fine job with 5 saves and a .208 BAA.  Behind him you have former Met sidearmer Joe Smith at 2.00, as well as Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup.  It’s time to right a wrong and reacquire Joe Smith.  He’s got a 2.90 ERA for his career and his delivery would be a great contrast to the styles of the other Mets pitchers.  He’s 33 and only making $3 million so his price should be music to the front office’s collective ears.  Since they need so many position players, it’s not hard to see how a package centered around Lucas Duda or Neil Walker (with a lot of money coming over) might get it done.  


Mack Ade said...

Reese -


I expect the site to be soft today after that back breaking loss yesterday. Those of us that thing there is still some gas left in the tank this season have to take a deep breath and consider a different approach to the future of this team.

Regarding Baltimore, that has to be somehow that the Mets can get their hands on Manny Machado next season.

There has to be a way getting him for two or three prospects that have no future in the 25-man Mets roster.

Am I nuts here?

I'm always being told I don't understand the cost here or whether or not he is eligible for a trade.

Thomas Brennan said...

Sewald was due to hit a speed bump after so many good outings...he hit a crater, though. This pen needs pitching help - badly. Sandy needs to get cracking.

Too bad Matz and Lugo are pitching in the minors again today, and not for the Mets, who need the pitching.

Thomas Brennan said...

I think the folks calling for Smith to come up to replace Duda now are reevaluating. That was some shot the Big Lebowski hit last night.

Reese Kaplan said...

Well, it appears the "braintrust" -- be it the front office or the dunce with the lineup pencil -- after a few years finally realizes that Wilmer Flores can hit. Of course, there are also rumblings that Conforto may have to share CF with Granderson when Cespedes returns, so one step forward and two steps back.

Regarding the pitching, I agree...with all the good Sewald has done he's due one clunker. Harvey is more concerning.

Note the 19.29 ERA of the man many once hailed as needing more opportunity -- Hansel Robles. There's a reason why certain pitchers who never were more than mediocre in the minors will regress to mean. On the other hand, there's the ongoing paradox of Rafael Montero who is pitching quite well in AAA. Trade him while his numbers are good and get a reliever.

By the way, I'm back in the USA finally, though marooned in Houston due to United cancelling a flight just as boarding was scheduled to begin. Apparently there was no crew. When exactly did they realize this? Obviously had they revealed it sooner, passengers could have been put on other airlines. Instead they had to put up a whole planeful of people in airport hotels, provide meal vouchers, etc. Allegedly I get out of here at 2:45 PM.

Mack Ade said...

Reese - welcome back, though you technically are not home yet.

Tom - There's always some pitcher on this team hitting a bump in the road.

As for Harvey, a lot of you feel selling him off now would be selling him short. Are you still believing this?

And lastly, yes, I agree that Dominic Smith should not come to Queens until Duda departs, but Duda's departure date should be earlier than Reese's plane fron Houston to El Paso. His increased power lately sets up a perfect sell off of his talent.

I am a seller now folks.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, you are so right. We are careening towards "sell high" mode.

This team reminds me of some NJ Nets teams I'd root for over the past 20 years - I'd think pre-season that they had enough to get to the playoffs, then key guys would get hurt - and be out longer than expected - and have setbacks - and by the time they returned, all was lost. The playoffs were out of reach before mid-season. That sure seems to be the Mets in 2017.

Reese, welcome back, and a great series of articles in absentia.

Play the kids - Reyes needs to sit, and no matter how well he is hitting, Grandson should be a part timer when (if) Cespedes returns. Now they say he is iffy for DH vs. Texas. By the time he returns, season over.

Zozo said...

I hope we either tank or do extremely well til the end of June. That way we can chart our course and either buy or sell, but knowing our metsies they will harbor somewhere in between and let's us linger and not take advantage of either of those choices.

After each homer Duda hits I say trade home asap.

Zozo said...

Trade Duda, Harvey and Walker to the skanks and get back Bird and Clint Frazier

Thomas Brennan said...

Zozo, interesting...Bird doing awfully, wonder if it is just a bad streak or he is flawed?

Gary Seagren said...

This is all of course based on our team doing the right thing and what are the chances of that happening. Anyway I threw out a trade of Thor for Machado awhile ago so does anyone here agree? I just don't like the path he's going down right now which is following the road Harvey was on and also don't know that you can ever talk him out of trying to throw the ball through a wall with every pitch until of course we lose him to TJS for 2 years. I don't care if it's Machado or a solid prospect package but after he comes back (this season I hope) he should be dealt while his value is still high. In this "error" er era of 5 inning pitchers were better off with a solid bullpen and say 4 or 5 guys who can get us through 6 innings with say a sub 4 ERA along with our offense and a killer pen and making the post season should be within reach.

Reese Kaplan said...

I think you would really have to be bowled over to even consider trading Syndergaard. The team is thin on pitching as it is, Harvey's FA period is not that far off and Matz/Lugo are held together with duct tape.

The problem with the prospective trade of Thor for Machado is that one is still in the minimum wage period of his career and the other is hitting his big free agency payday.

Even if that was not an issue, right now he's damaged goods. You would not likely receive fair value in return.

The thought about five solid, 6 inning plus, sub 4.00 ERA pitchers is a sound one, however. You don't need to have Cy Young contenders to win games.

Mack's Mets © 2012